Monday June 17, 2024

Our Bad Boys of 2019!

By Omair Alavi
August 25, 2019

Cricket is being played across the world at the moment, with the Ashes taking place in England, India touring the West Indies for a complete tour and New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka at the latter’s home. However, Pakistan’s is a team that neither is on a tour nor has any planning of one, because their planning starts at the World Cup, for the World Cup and ends with the World Cup. Why is Pakistan cricket in dire straits despite finishing fifth at the World Cup, organising a successful Pakistan Super League and impressing many in the English county circuit? And who are the people responsible? Read on:

Mickey Arthur - Coach

He may have cried when he was ousted from the post of Head Coach but Mickey Arthur is responsible for Pakistan team’s decline. A person who can’t even make a PSL team win was handed the reins of Pakistan’s national team that had the best players. Just like Javed Miandad, he acted out for the cameras at a time when Aussie coach Justin Langer noted points, without showing what was going on in his mind. Don’t know what prompted Pakistan to go for someone who was sacked by Cricket Australia for treating players like Shane Watson as schoolboys. His planning (or lack of it), his comments against discarded cricketers and his preference of some players over others are the reasons why Pakistan cricket is in shambles.

Inzamam ul Haq - Chief Selector

And there was his partner in crime, Inzamam ul Haq. For a cricketer who should be thankful to Prime Minister Imran Khan who retained him in the 1992 World Cup (for he was at his worst in the other four editions), Inzamam has come a long way. So long that when he interrupted team meetings, pitch overview and even the selection of the final XI, he disturbed everything the coach and the captain had planned. Yes, he was the Chief Selector but that doesn’t mean that he could do anything he wanted. After inserting his nephew Imam ul Haq in the side, he should have moved away from team meetings but no. The man who ended the career of Asim Kamal and delayed that of Misbah ul Haq when he was skipper left the post after ensuring that there wasn’t any opener better in the squad than his nephew, there was less hope of Fawad Alam’s return and his colleagues Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik stayed as long as they wanted in the side that didn’t need them.

Sarfaraz Ahmed - Captain

If you are the captain of the Pakistan side but aren’t getting the respect you deserve, what do you do? Imran Khan would take those responsible for disrupting his plan to the cleaners, Younis Khan would quit the post, while Sarfaraz Ahmed would do nothing. And that is strange, for he was the reason why Pakistan became the Champion of ICC Champions Trophy. After the match against the West Indies where no player in the side gave his 100 percent, he should have locked the team in the dressing room and told them that there was always a way back, back to home and out of the squad. Yes, that would have required approval from the ICC Technical Committee but after that, Pakistan wouldn’t have lost more matches before they realised they still had chances in the Cup, despite their goof ups. His captaincy in the last few matches may have been exemplary but Pakistan missed out of the semi-finals because of the matches where it was anything but exemplary.

Shoaib Malik - Former Captain and senior allrounder

With his ex-captain and predecessor Inzamam ul Haq in charge of selection, Shoaib Malik tried to stage a coup ahead of the World Cup when in-form and important players were dropped for the important series against Australia. Shoaib Malik, who had announced he would retire after the mega event, was asked to lead the side. After losing two matches, he announced that the players weren’t there to win but to play. Just for that comment he should have been recalled because that’s the mindset of a defeated individual. And he proved that during the World Cup where he couldn’t do anything right except fielding. Yes, it wasn’t his fault that he was chosen to lead the team, but he could have always said no, considering he was the most senior active player in the world! Thank God that the Pakistan team lost all five matches against Australia. Otherwise Shoaib Malik would have told the press that he meant to retire after 2023 World Cup!

Imam-ul-Haq - Opening Batsman turned Casanova

This nephew of Inzamam ul Haq single-handedly destroyed the image of cricket that used to be a gentleman’s game. Ahead of matches when players are relaxing or reading to stay focused, this modern-day Casanova was sending messages on WhatsApp to unknown ladies, discussing his whereabouts, their whereabouts and how he felt about them. Some of the messages were so vulgar that local TV channels didn’t air them because of the backlash they would receive from the audience. He remained a failure during the World Cup before his century at Lord’s and now we know where his mind was — on WhatsApp. Furthermore, instead of penalising him for his actions, the Board chose to accept his apology and no action was taken. One hopes that sense prevails when the new management takes over and side. The modern-day Romeo will also have to fight for his place in the side, after the exit of Uncle Ul Haq!